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How Will Clint Dempsey's Move to Seattle and MLS Affect National Team?

Peter BrownellContributor IDecember 13, 2016

As first reported by ESPN, United States men’s national team captain and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Clint Dempsey will be joining the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.

In short, inking Dempsey is a massive splash for a Seattle club with ambitious aspirations.

With the World Cup in Brazil looming, the question must be asked: How will Deuce’s move from the English Premier League to football stateside affect the USMNT?

Those against the transfer will argue that leaving England will stunt Dempsey’s game. They will holler that the American will no longer be playing against the most talented footballers in the world and will not be challenged in MLS.

While there may be truth to the notion that the players in MLS are not as talented as the players in the EPL, the move will have little impact on Dempsey’s international career. It might actually help it.

Dempsey has already contributed in two World Cups for the U.S. He has been a major cog in how they have operated for eight years, and his wealth of experience at the international level (99 caps, 35 goals) is sufficient enough to ensure he can continue to play at a high level for the Yanks.

Stated simply, this summer’s World Cup will not be Clint Dempsey’s first rodeo, and at this point in his career, it is more important for Dempsey to feel comfortable than anything else.

Look at what comfort did for Landon Donovan. LD had arguably his best ever U.S. showing in the 2013 Gold Cup after focusing on his level of comfort with a brief hiatus from soccer.

In addition to being well-versed in the international game, Dempsey will be bolstered by lineup stability in Seattle.

Instead of drifting in and out of Tottenham’s lineup like he did last season, the 30-year-old will instantly become the focal point for Sigi Schmid’s offense. He will likely be inserted as an attacking midfielder or second striker and will have license to float where he sees fit.

That is exactly how Jurgen Klinsmann used the former New England Revolution standout during the team’s most recent spell of World Cup qualifiers. It is also the likely spot for Dempsey in Brazil.

Not to mention Deuce will have an entire season to continue to jell with fellow USMNT striker Eddie Johnson. EJ is competing for the starting striker spot (although is currently behind Jozy Altidore) and it will definitely help both footballers to play together regularly.

The pressure from fans and media might not be as omnipresent as it was in London. That said, though, Seattle is a soccer-crazed city. The fans love their Sounders, and the spotlight will be all over their newly minted designated player.

As captain of Team USA, that is the sort of pressure he will need to continue to get used to. He is no longer just a small piece of his club’s puzzle; he is the face of an operation.

This can only help his contributions for the United States men’s national team as Klinsmann continues to push Clint Dempsey toward new levels of leadership before the World Cup next summer.

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